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Fifield’s brush with disability art

The Australian, Michaela Boland

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New Arts Minister Mitch Fifield, has rejected the notion he has not engaged with the arts and said as the former assistant minister for social services he had recently met artists at an indigenous art centre to talk about their portrayal of people with disability.

A co-convener of arts industry lobby group ArtsPeak, Nicole Beyer, said she expected Senator Fifield’s limited knowledge of the broader arts industry would be overcome by his stated ­com­mit­ment to consultation. “What is more important is how open he is to now learning about the arts, ­attending things and listening to different sectors,” Ms Beyer said.

ArtsPeak has commandeered a campaign against the budget announcement that $105 million was to be cut from the Australia Council for distribution through a new excellence program overseen by Senator Brandis.

The executive producer of Geelong main stage Down syndrome theatre company Back to Back, Alice Nash, said she had not met Senator Fifield in his capacity as minister responsible for disability services but welcomed his ­appointment to the arts portfolio.

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